New Low Down

Gene Mayl

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New Low Down Review

by Alex Henderson

On the Dixieland circuit, bands don't necessarily breakup when members leave, retire from music, or pass away -- instead, they simply hire new members and keep plugging away year after year. That is true in the United States; it is true in Great Britain, where a Dixieland veteran like London bassist Pete Corrigan (just to give one example) has been leading different versions of his Band of Hope since the late '70s. In Ohio, The Dixieland Rhythm Kings have turned out to be a Dixieland institution; the band was founded by bassist/tuba player Gene Mayl in 1948 and was still active in the early 2000s. Of course, the Kings have had many different lineups over the years; New Low Down finds Mayl leading a mid-'60s septet that also includes cornetist Dick Baars, trombonist Bill Coburn, clarinetist Pat Patterson, pianist Clarence Hall, banjoist Vic Tooker, and drummer Glenn Kimmel. That lineup is in fine form on this CD, which was originally released on the Blackbird label as the vinyl LP Trip to Waukesha and focuses on a November 21, 1965, concert at the Merrill Hills Country Club in Waukesha, WI. Thanks to Delmark, the album is now at least 22 minutes longer; Bob Koester's label has added four previously unreleased performances that weren't on the old LP ("Tin Roof Blues," "Tiny's Blues," "Someday Sweetheart," and Fats Waller's "Black and Blue"). Those additions aren't just filler; they're every bit as exciting as the material that was on the original LP, which includes "Struttin' with Some Barbecue" and "Royal Garden Blues." Arguably, Blackbird should have been more generous and made Trip to Waukesha a two-LP set, but thankfully, New Low Down gives listeners a chance to hear more of the Wisconsin gig -- a memorable show that Mayl and his hard-swinging Dixieland Rhythm Kings have every reason to be proud of.

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